Joy as the best family-friendly places in Hampshire are honoured at awards

THE best family-friendly places in Hampshire have been revealed after thousands of people voted for their favourites in an online awards scheme.

Wednesday, 31st March 2021, 7:00 am
Claire White, owner of Sweet Peas Play Cafe in West Street, Fareham. Picture: Sarah Standing (260321-5582)

More than 10,000 people voted for their favourite family-friendly businesses in Hampshire at the Little Ankle Biter Awards, run by family guide website Little Ankle Biters.

The winners were announced at a virtual ceremony held on Saturday, hosted by Hampshire Ankle Biters founder and mum, Katherine Antrobus from her family kitchen.

Katherine said: ‘Running these awards has been great fun, and it’s been brilliant to discover all the amazing places to spend time at as a family, or use when hosting a children’s birthday party.

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New soft play centre, Wild Wonderland has opened in Gosport on 23 September 2020 Pictured: Staff Gemma Woodford, Mark and Jessie Metelko and Shannon Waight. Picture: Habibur Rahman

‘The response from the public has been phenomenal - we had over 1,000 local businesses nominated and then five finalists in each category were selected, and we received over 10,000 votes from parents, grandparents and carers for their favourites to win.'

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Wild Wonderland in Gosport won the Best Soft Play Area.

Owners Mark and Jessie Metelko, and their 18 month old daughter Margot, were delighted to see their hard work pay off.

Silly Scott

Jessie, who also runs Jessie Lee Dance and Cheer Academy, opened the business in September.

She said: ‘A lot of the parents have said that they feel because of the set-up, they know that it’s really safe for their children and they also liked it because we capped the age limit to nine years old so there are no older children who are going to tumble over the younger ones.’

Best Children’s Entertainer winner, Silly Scott, from Fareham was dancing in the kitchen with his daughter Riley to the Instagram live stream when he heard he had won.

Already winner of many other awards including the Netmums Best Family Entertainer, Scott said he loves his job and realises that it’s just as important to entertain the parents as well as the children.

Sarah Lewis, who runs Pregnancy & Post Natal Services in Portsmouth

After a year of changing how he entertains from online children’s parties during lockdown, he said he can’t wait to return to doing garden parties for up to groups of six children.

He said: ‘A child will sit and engage for longer when the whole family are enjoying it.’

Sweet Peas Play Cafe, in West Street, Fareham won two awards – Best Children’s Party Venue and Best Local Independent Business, as well as coming runner up in the Best Family-friendly Place To Eat category.

The cafe, which features role-play areas, opened in 2019 by mum Claire White.

The start of Eat Out To Help Out in Fareham. Pictured left to right; the Mayoress of Fareham Louise Clubley, Mayor of Fareham Pamela Bryant, Crumblejack's owners and council leader Sean Woodward.

Claire, from Gosport, said: ‘It's brilliant, I was so honoured just to be nominated, I didn't think that I would win. I am so grateful to everyone who voted for us. I can’t wait to see everyone back at the cafe again soon.'

CrumbleJack Cafe, also in West Street, Fareham won Best for Grown Ups.

Best pregnancy service winner Sarah Lewis, who runs Pregnancy & Post Natal Services in Portsmouth, said that parents-to-be had been initially unsure about doing classes online during lockdown, so she had gone out of her way to get to know everyone personally.

She said: ‘When you come to class, you’re not just another face, I learn your name, I learn your baby’s name, we get to know each other. And it is that really personal touch.’

As a post lockdown treat, the winners have been invited to a garden event in July to celebrate and pick up their awards in person.

Full list of winners:

Best Community Spirit

WINNER: Cookery Doodle Doo, North Hants

Runner up: Bob-I-Tea-Boo (Basingstoke)

Other finalists:

Marvels and Meltdowns ADHD and Autism Family Centre (Portsmouth)

Bob-I-Tea-Boo (Basingstoke)

Refill and Replenish (Petersfield)

Portsmouth Arms (Basingstoke)

Best Charity

WINNER: Baby Necessities (Southampton)

Runner up: Spotlight (Basingstoke)

Other finalists:

Marvels and Meltdowns ADHD and Autism Family Centre (Portsmouth)

Basingstoke and District Disability Forum (Basingstoke)

Families of Ocean Ward (Southampton)

Best Children’s Activity Class

WINNER: Winchester City Dance (Winchester)

Runner up: Baby Sensory (Basingstoke and Alton)

Other finalists:

Little Learners (Basingstoke)

Mindfully Making It (Woolston)

Drama Tots (Basingstoke)

Best Children’s Party Entertainer

WINNER: Silly Scott (Portsmouth)

Runner up: Imaginacts Entertainment (Southampton)

Other finalists:

Baby Sensory / Toddler Sense (Basingstoke and Alton)

Little Learners (Basingstoke)

Trainmaster (North Hampshire)

Best Children’s Party Supplier

WINNER: Party Dayz (Tadley)

Runner up: Balloons For You – The Party Store (Basingstoke)

Other finalists:

Slice of Fun Cakes and Bakes (Basingstoke)

Candy Treats (Eastleigh)

Bonkers Balloons (Basingstoke)

Pixie Cakes by Carolina (Whitchurch)

Best Children’s Party Venue

WINNER: Sweet Peas Play Cafe (Fareham)

Runner up: Little Planet (Winchester)

Other finalists:

I Wanna Be – Role Play Village (Romsey)

Bob-I-Tea-Boo (Basingstoke)

Play Shack (Hedge End)

Best Children’s Sport Club

WINNER: Basingstoke Rugby Club (Basingstoke)

Runner up: IDPE Sport (Fareham and Gosport)

Other finalists:

Sportskool (Fareham)

TNT Family Fitness (Basingstoke)

Invictus Gymnastics Club (Hampshire)

Best Family Attraction

WINNER: Mid Hants Railway – The Watercress Line (New Alresford)

Runner up: Marwell Zoo (Winchester)

Other finalists:

Paultons Park (Romsey)

Winchester Science Centre and Planetarium (Winchester)

Blue Reef Aquarium (Portsmouth)

Best Family-friendly Place To Eat

WINNER: Wild Tea Bar (South Downs)

Runner up: Sweet Peas Cafe (Fareham)

Other finalists:

The Alrebury Cafe (New Alresford)

Teagether (Basingstoke)

Preston’s Coffee Shop (Overton)

Best for Grown Ups

WINNER: CrumbleJack Cafe (Fareham)

Runner up: Studio 41 (Basingstoke)

Other finalists:

Bob-I-Tea-Boo (Basingstoke)

Steam Town Brew Company (Eastleigh)

The Tea Cosy (Hurstbourne Tarrant)

Best Theatre

WINNER: Anvil Arts (Basingstoke)

Runner up: Kings Theatre (Portsmouth)

The Mayflower (Southampton)

Scratchbuilt Productions (Basingstoke)

The Point (Eastleigh)

Best Museum

WINNER: Milestones Living Museum (Basingstoke)

Runner up: Portsmouth Historic Dockyard (Portsmouth)

Other finalists:

Beaulieu Motor Museum (New Forest)

Cumberland House Natural History Museum (Portsmouth)

Willis Museum (Basingstoke)

Best New Business

WINNER: Trenza Braid Bar (West Quay Shopping Centre, Southampton)

Runner up: Ro’s On The Go (Basingstoke)

Other finalists:

Little Planet (Winchester)

Mindfully Making It (Woolston)

Little Steps Nanny and Events Agency (Hampshire)

I Wanna Be – Role Play Village (Romsey)

Best New Product

WINNER: Parlour Tea Rooms (Basingstoke)

Runner up: Pop Up Play Village (Basingstoke)

Other finalists:

Ginger Green Co (Alton)

Sticky Little Pickle (Hampshire)

Parlour Tea Rooms (Basingstoke)

Messy Monkey Makers (Basingstoke)

Best Local Independent Business

WINNER: Sweet Peas Play Cafe (Fareham)

Runner up: Feral Creations (Basingstoke)

Other finalists:

Little Steps Nanny and Event Agency (Hampshire)

MiMi Adores (Hill Head)

Ginger Green Co (Alton)

Best Pregnancy Service

WINNER: Sarah Lewis Pregnancy & Postnatal Services (Portsmouth, Southsea and Havant)

Runner up: Karlek Beauty (Basingstoke)

Other finalists:

The Hampshire Birthing Company, Alton (

FitMama (Basingstoke)

Bump Yoga (Andover)

Best Soft Play

WINNER: Wild Wonderland (Gosport)

Runner up: Active Tots (Bramley)

Other finalists:

Kids2Day (Chandler’s Ford)

Injoy (Southampton)

Play Shack (Hedge End)

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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